As another year comes to an end, it’s safe to say that 2021 was yet another strange one. A lot has happened at The Bay with the uncertainty leading to some changes being made…again, but overall there have been some fantastic achievements and many amazing memories with the team. Calum reflects on the past year and looks forward to 2022.
How would you summarise the past year for The Bay?
The past year was a good one if you were willing to adapt. The hardest thing for us was definitely having to close 4 times with staff members self-isolating. Of course, we don’t plan for closure so it can be costly with stock, let alone turnover.
What were your key achievements and memories of 2021?
There were so many memorable moments it’s hard to just choose a few. Being part of and launching the “Galley” cookbook in aid of the Royal Navy Royal Marine Charity was amazing as the charity is very close to my heart.
We also proudly catered for the COP26 Climate Conference which was a once in a lifetime event – we were so honoured to be asked to do this.
Throughout the year we’ve also provided the catering for Outlander’s team and cast twice at the request of Sam Heughan himself which was an incredible experience. Not forgetting the filming we did for ‘The Great Railway’ with Michael Portillo, a truly surreal moment.
I’ve also loved watching our manager Paul grow in confidence and take his new role in his stride.
And of course….I got married!! It’s definitely no secret now, that was certainly a highlight in my year, and my twins started at Mackie academy, so they’re standout memories of 2021.
How did you adapt in 2021 to meet the needs of your customers?
We continued with our click & collect and delivery services and kept our doors closed to customers to protect our staff. We also invested in a new EPOS system to give us more control of stock, ordering, and flexibility to change things more easily. As always, we continue to wear face masks at all times while inside The Bay and have adapted our opening hours to suit the needs of our customers during the different times and holidays of the year.
Did 2021 allow you to slow down and reflect on things such as staff welfare?
Big time. It made us realise that there is no point chasing the money but it’s better to ensure everyone has a healthy work-life balance. We’ve made the decision to close 2 hours earlier to allow our staff to spend evenings with family and we’re closed most of the lunchtimes at the moment, so everyone can have free time for uni, college, and any other hobbies.
How important is staff welfare to you?
Without staff you don’t have a business so it’s important to look after their welfare.
What are you putting in place to prioritise staff welfare in 2022?
We’ll be carrying on with The Real Living Wage and we’re going to be introducing staff appraisals twice a year so everyone is on the same page. If people are not happy or comfortable it allows us to fix the problem.
Are you still considering closing The Bay for two weeks in January to allow people to recharge their batteries?
Yes, we are going back to what we did 15 years ago. The decision to close for 2 weeks in January allows everyone to have an extended break to recharge and we can carry out maintenance at The Bay.
What are you most looking forward to in 2022?
I’d love to try and stay open for a full year, hopefully Covid allows this time around. We’re also excited to be working alongside coach Paul Mort, so that will be great.
Are there any goals you’d like The Bay to achieve in 2022?
After our amazing 2021 memories, we’re going to look at entering some awards to benefit the team but it has to be the right award, not just any ‘Mickey Mouse’ – we want to enter the awards that are going around the country.
I would also love it if my team were all able to stay healthy, focused and motivated throughout the year.
If I’ve learnt anything this year it’s to expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst – anything else is a bonus.
Thanks to every one of you who continue to support us at The Bay Fish & Chips. We don’t know what next year will bring, but here’s to a healthy, happy, and exciting year ahead.